Azikiwe Mohammed doesn’t feel safe in America. A lot of people do not. To that end, he has come up with a place that hopefully has less of what makes this place suck and more of what makes it not suck. By averaging the names of five of the most densely populated Black cities in America according to years of Census data (New Orleans, LA, Detroit, MI, Jackson, MS, Birmingham, AL and Savannah, GA), he came up with the name for this town, New Davonhaime. Many of the cities that make up the name New Davonhaime at one point were the landing pads in the search for a freedom we were promised but never delivered. If one of these attempts at this safe space had worked than we might not have so many of these towns. Maybe as a unit, they can work where individually they each fell short. Hopefully, New Davonhaime can be that place of togetherness.
As an extension of the New Davonhaime project, which has been focused on inside spaces, Mohammed will be installing the first iteration of an outdoor-themed New Davonhaime space for this year’s 1-54 Lounge. Centering on the idea that we can build physical spaces that support our ideas, Mohammed aims to create a space of togetherness as we gather to support artists from 1 continent made up of 54 countries at 1-54 fair.
The 1-54 Lounge is presented in conjunction with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, as a 1-54 Special Project. Mohammed was a Pioneer Works artist-in-residence in Summer 2016.